Every time a runner gets injured, they morph into Dave Chapelle’s Tyrone Biggums. Wandering from Facebook group to Facebook group asking, “Y’all got any more of that injury recovery advice?” To get back on their runs, people will pay any amount. If there is a tool that can help you avoid injuries in the first place, back up the Brinks truck.
Some tools are gimmicky, and the worst ones can waste your money and make your injury worse. When I started running, every store sold The Stick, a hard plastic stick with handles on both ends, with independent bead-like rollers that were also good at yanking hair out of my legs. The Stick never really did much for me except calm my nerves. If you watched elites warming up, they would always whip out The Stick and work their shins and calves like they were rolling out dough. After The Stick, foam rollers started showing up.
While The popularity of the Stick waned, foam rollers caught fire and are still a runner’s friend. There isn’t a morning that I skip rolling my legs out before a run; it is part of my pre-run routine. The foam roller is perfect for loosening up large muscle groups but doesn’t do much to target specific muscles and tendons. That is where the massage gun comes in. In a study, percussive massagers were proven to be as effective as massage for reducing DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and getting blood flow to the muscles.
At first, I thought the guns were more of an expensive accessory that may or may not do anything beneficial. The first gun I reviewed changed my mind. I had a knot in my Achilles’ tendon, and I had tried everything from scraping to acupuncture to release it. With no success, I had resigned myself to live with it. Using the gun, I noticed my left tendon could take the gun’s pounding, but the right one with a knot was super tender. I started working the tendon’s length gently, and over a couple of weeks, the knot disappeared, and I became a believer. Percussion guns work, and the Hydragun is the best one I’ve used.
Let’s get into the why.
With a name like Hydragun, you might expect it to have some water involved. My guess is a reference to the mythical creature that Hercules went up against. The one when he cut off one of the snake-like heads, another one grew in its place. Like that creature, the Hydra gun has six heads. Each exchangeable head makes the Hydragun effective at massaging different muscle groups and creating a different experience. The gun also has six different speeds. Between the exchangeable heads and speeds, the user should find a combo that makes their muscles sing. While the gun is easy to use on yourself, the real treat is letting a friend use it on you why you relax. Other than the six heads, the Hydragun comes with a handy travel case and multiple outlet heads for travel.
At first, I didn’t value the “quiet” claims, but when you’re trying to watch your favorite morning show, having a quiet massager makes a difference. It’s also a major benefit to those around you. The tool sounds more like a kitten purring than a massage gun.Shop Hydragun
As runners, our trouble spots are shoulders, hips, thighs, calves, and feet. Pre-run I use the gun to loosen up my hips, thighs, and calves. The vibration brings blood flow to the target and relaxes the tendons. I don’t set a specific time to work each group of muscles. I do it until it “feels” right. I pair this with foam rolling to hit larger tendons and muscles. Post-run I grab the gun after I stretch. The vibrations soothe the muscles and clear out the lactic acid. I don’t always relax my shoulders when running, so now is the time to hit the traps and feel my whole head rattle around. The aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh-yeah is real.
I haven’t tried all the different percussion massage guns out there, but between the Hyperice, Trigger Point, and the Hydragun, Hydragun is the winner. Best in design, best in noise, best in options (six heads x six speeds), best in battery life. At $299, about the same price as a pair of Alphaflys, you can have a tool that is proven to be as good as paying a pro to massage you whenever you need it.
One more bonus feature we should lmention: it comes with a European-specific charging attachment, a nice inclusion for our friends across the pond.
Pick it up at the shop link below.Shop Hydragun
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